×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sky Italia gets social with ‘X’

Online buzz makes show a must-watch

ROME — While Italy might lag behind the rest of Western Europe in Internet usage, pay channel Sky Italia is pushing the country to the forefront of the social media-TV frontierthrough hit competition series “The X Factor,” using a strategy in which the feevee aims to make itself a must-have for Italo consumers.

“Our choice of making something so interactive and digital is driven by the fact that that you want to do something very different from free-to-air; in some way it’s an obligation for pay TV,” says Sky Italia exec VP Andrea Scrosati.

Sky Italia viewers can vote for “X-Factor” contestants via Twitter, as well as their TV remote. Also available are apps, such as an applause meter that measures the approval of folks watching at home — and will turn the TV screen green or red during the finals depending on the intensity of the clapping.

Scrosati notes that Sky Italia has many more interactive bells and whistles than, say, free-to-air broadcaster ITV in the U.K., which draws 9 million-10 million viewers per show, as opposed to the Italo feevee’s less than 1 million per episode. Sky Italia, which has just under 5 million subs in a nation of roughly 22 million TV homes, sees social media as a way to offer smaller audiences the kind of water-cooler experience auds get from ratings-grabbing shows on free-to-air nets.

Significantly, on a recent evening, 750,000 “X-Factor” votes were cast from Italian couches, representing almost the entirety of that episode’s audience. By contrast, votes cast from Italo TV households for the latest edition of the country’s top-rated Sanremo song fest, which pulls millions of eyeballs on pubcaster RAI, reached a total of 1 million spread across five nights.

Sky Italia is infusing social media into other shows as well, including cooking competition “Master Chef” and the Italo version of “The Apprentice” (where the big boss is auto racing entrepreneur and playboy Flavio Briatore). Sky Italia’s upcoming Formula One auto racing coverage, for which it is splitting rights with pubcaster RAI, will also differentiate itself from the Italo pubcaster’s offerings by featuring a slew of interactive features and exclusive apps across multiple screens and devices.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • David Goodman

    WGA West's David Goodman on Agency Strategy: 'We'll Start Meeting as Soon as Possible'

    David Goodman, who was resoundingly re-elected president of the Writers Guild of America West on Monday, said the guild plans to meet with several talent agencies soon in an effort to ease the impasse over packaging fees and affiliated production. “Many agencies had indicated that they wanted to wait to see the results of the [...]

  • THE TITAN GAMES -- "The Titan

    'Titan Games' Renewed for Season 2 at NBC

    NBC has renewed the Dwayne Johnson-hosted competition series “The Titan Games” for a second season. The series features men and women battling opponents in head-to-head physical challenges designed by Johnson. Winners advance to Mt. Olympus, a test of speed, strength, agility and endurance. “When we launched ‘The Titan Games,’ we set out to create an [...]

  • David Goodman

    David Goodman Re-Elected President of Writers Guild of America West

    David Goodman has been convincingly re-elected to a two-year term as president of the Writers Guild of America West, beating Phyllis Nagy in a bitter contest that became a referendum on the guild’s ongoing battle with talent agents. Goodman received 4,395 votes to Nagy’s 1,282 in an election that yielded record turnout among the WGA [...]

  • first wives club BET

    TV Review: 'The First Wives Club' on BET Plus

    Launching a series based on a beloved property is harder than it seems. On the one hand, you get the immediate boost of name recognition to lure in preexisting fans. On the other, straying too far from the plot and/or spirit of the original risks sparking their righteous wrath. It’s a tricky balance to strike, [...]

  • Thomas Golubic GMS Conference

    Guild of Music Supervisors President: 'The Economics of the Job Don't Work Anymore'

    The Guild of Music Supervisors (GMS) hosted its 5th annual “State of Music in Media” conference on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Los Angeles Film School. Featuring a wide array of panel discussions on all manner of issues related to music in film, television and advertising, the confab drew top composers, music supervisors, licensing and [...]

  • Christopher Eccleston Anorexia

    Christopher Eccleston Reveals He Was 'Very Ill' With Anorexia While Filming 'Doctor Who'

    “Doctor Who” actor Christopher Eccleston has opened up about his anorexia, body dysmorphia and suicidal thoughts. Eccleston, who played the ninth incarnation of the Doctor, made the revelations in his forthcoming autobiography “I Love the Bones of You: My Father and the Making of Me.” “Many times I’ve wanted to reveal that I’m a lifelong [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content